Typhoon Yutu slammed into northern Philippines on Tuesday and is traveling a path similar to last month’s super storm Mangkhut that killed at least 82 people and damaged about $500 million of farm output in the Southeast Asian nation.
More than 10,000 people were moved to safer grounds before Yutu came ashore. As many as 12 million people are living along the storm’s path, Edgar Posadas, spokesman of the disaster-monitoring agency, said in a televised briefing.
While Yutu has weakened from super-storm strength, it is packing winds of as much as 140 kilometers (87 miles) per hour with gusts reaching 230 kilometers per hour, according to the Philippine weather bureau. It made landfall in the province of Isabela at 4 a.m. local time and is heading towards mountainous Benguet and the coastal province of La Union before leaving Philippine landmass on Tuesday afternoon.
At its peak, Yutu was as strong as Super Typhoon Mangkhut. It is now forecast to weaken and turn northward to China’s coastline just north of Hong Kong later this week, the Hong Kong Observatory said.
The third-highest typhoon warning signal is up in 7 provinces in the Philippines while more than a dozen areas, including Metro Manila, were under lower storm alerts. Under Signal No. 3, trees may be uprooted, rice and corn crops may suffer heavy losses and there may be disruption of power and communication lines.
The weather bureau warned of storm surges as high as 3 meters in the provinces of Pangasinan and La Union, advising people in coastal communities to evacuate.
Mangkhut, which killed at least 82 people in the Philippines and damaged about 26.7 billion pesos ($498 million) of the nation’s farm output, slammed into Cagayan province also in north Luzon, in September.
Farmers in the path of storm were advised to harvest maturing crops early to minimize losses, Christopher Morales, operations chief of the Department of Agriculture, said. The agency has yet to come up with estimates on potential rice and corn losses.
About 20 cyclones pass through disaster-prone Philippines each year with Super Typhoon Haiyan killing more than 6,300 people alone in 2013. Yutu is the 18th tropical storm to hit the Philippines this year, potentially compounding supply-side price pressures in the nation that has one of the fastest inflation increases in Asia.
More than 2,100 people are stranded in various ports, the coastguard said. The number has risen as more Filipinos leave for their hometowns to visit their dead for the All Souls’ Day holiday later this week.
About 30 flights have been canceled, said Posadas from the disaster-monitoring agency. Cebu Air Inc., Air China Ltd., China Eastern Airlines Corp., Xiamen Air and China Southern Airlines Co. Ltd. were among those which announced flight cancellations, the Philippine airport authority said on its Facebook account.
Last month, Mangkhut hit the Philippines’ main island before striking Hong Kong. At their peak, both Mangkhut and Yutu had winds of 180 miles per hour, making them the strongest in the world this year.
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